You can’t make somebody quit, but you can help. Supporting a loved one while they quit is one of the most important things you can do to help them have a longer, healthier life. Here are some Dos and Don’ts to keep in mind.
What to DO
- Call the Maine Tobacco HelpLine. As a friend or family member of a smoker, you can call the HelpLine at 1.800.207.1230 to get information and tips on how to help others quit.
- Offer lots of encouragement. Let him or her know that you’re proud of their effort. Instead of offering advice, ask how you can help. Listen when they talk and remind him or her how far they’ve come.
- Give practical help. Make a quit kit with gum, toothpicks, mints, and other tools for quitting. You can even add pictures of loved ones.
- Help keep busy. A tobacco craving usually passes in five minutes or less. Make a list of things to do together, like taking walks, doing yard work, and going to the movies, the mall or to smoke-free restaurants.
- Have patience. It can be tough to learn new ways to do things without tobacco. Simple things, like taking a break or relaxing after a meal, can be hard.
- Offer to help. Think of ways to make quitting less stressful. Help with chores or other things and keep offering support in the weeks and months to come.
What NOT TO DO
- Don’t judge or nag. It’s important to be supportive and understand how difficult it is to quit. If the smoker has a relapse or slip, remind him or her that it takes several attempts and stay positive!
- Don’t take offense. Irritability and hostility are side effects of withdrawal and they will pass as your loved one begins to adjust to life without nicotine.
- Don’t give unwanted advice. Offering support and offering advice are two different things. Make sure that you are making things easier for him or her and not offering unwanted feedback or comments.
- Don’t make it harder. If you are a smoker, don’t smoke around those that are trying to quit. Keep triggers such as cigarettes, matches, and lighters out of sight.